Michele Allman Stokes, ’80 - Theater
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It will come as no surprise that Michele Allman Stokes is this year's honoree for work in the theatre. Her classmates at IWA remember her involvement in the school's theater program and how she thrived in its creative atmosphere. While a student at IWA, Michele appeared in the musical during her freshman year, designed and silk-screened the advertising materials for the musical in her junior year, and designed the costumes for the musical in her senior year. Along with drama, Michele was heavily involved in IWA's art program, taking every art class the curriculum offered and happily spending many open labs in the art room. In her senior year, she was a finalist in Seventeen Magazine's annual art contest. Her fondest memories of IWA revolve around theater and art – the Saturday set-building and painting days when she and her friends would order pizza and then go up the catwalks to the door that leads to the roof and enjoy the pizza from that elevated perspective. After leaving IWA, Michele received her first Bachelors degree from Mizzou in Clothing and Textiles/Fashion Merchandising. Later, she pursued another Bachelor's degree from the University of Missouri-St. Louis in Special Education and became certified in Learning Disabilities, Behavior Disorders, Elementary Education, and Art. She left special education after three years to return to her alma mater, where she spent 7 years developing and implementing IWA's Learning Consultant program before returning to one of her first loves – art. She has been teaching the Art program at IWA for the past three years. During her time as a member of IWA's faculty, Michele has costumed 15 plays and musicals at the school, and has extended her triune love of theatre/art/teaching by co-founding Shooting Star Productions, where she serves as president and costumer. Shooting Star Productions produces plays and musicals featuring St. Louis-area youth, ages 5 to 19. Since its inception in 2002, the company has produced 14 shows, provided more than 600 roles for children and teenagers, and sold more than 14,000 tickets. In May, 2010, the production company won the first St. Louis Arts for Life Best Youth Production Award for its presentation of Les Miserables. With all these notable accomplishments to her credit, Michele says that her greatest accomplishment has been her 28-year marriage to her high school sweetheart, her three happy and kind sons (now ages 26, 24, and 18,) and her lovely daughter-in-law.